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China-based hackers hacked Western European government email accounts, Microsoft says

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A China-based hacking group broke into email accounts linked to government agencies in Western Europe, Microsoft Corp said. this week.

ByZEN SOO AP Technology Writer

A presenter speaks about Microsoft in the Information Age during the World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Shanghai, Thursday, July 6, 2023. A China-based hacking group hacked into email accounts linked to government agencies in Western Europe, Microsoft Corp. in a blog. article published on Tuesday, July 11. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The Associated Press

HONG KONG– A China-based hacking group has hacked into email accounts linked to government agencies in Western Europe, according to Microsoft Corp.

In a blog post published on Tuesday, Microsoft said the group, identified as Storm-0558, focuses on acts such as espionage and data theft.

The group gained access to email accounts affecting approximately 25 organizations, including government agencies, and accounts of individuals linked to these organizations, and went undetected for approximately a month until customers complain to Microsoft about abnormal email activity.

“We believe this adversary is focused on espionage, such as accessing email systems for intelligence gathering,” Charlie Bell, executive vice president of security at Microsoft, said in a separate Microsoft article.

The hackers made the breach by falsifying authentication tokens – information used to verify a user’s identity – needed to access email accounts. Microsoft has since addressed the attack and notified affected customers.

Microsoft said it was working with the Department of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, among others, to guard against such attacks.

He also said he would continue to monitor Storm-0558’s activities.

The Storm-0558 attack is the latest security flaw discovered by China-based hackers.

Last month, Google-owned cybersecurity firm Mandiant said suspected state-backed Chinese hackers broke into the networks of hundreds of public and private sector organizations around the world using a security breach. in a popular email security tool.

Earlier this year, Microsoft said state-backed Chinese hackers were targeting US critical infrastructure and could lay the technical groundwork for potential disruption of critical communications between the US and Asia in future crises.

China says the United States is also engaging in cyber espionage against it, hacking into computers at its universities and businesses.

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